What a difference a year makes!
This year’s Souper Bowl of Caring effort by Palm Coast United Methodist Church’s youth group, called Regener8, doubled the amount of money and cans of food over the same event last year.
In 2020, the group of about ten kids, grades seven and up, and several parents raised $2,092.79 for Feed Flagler. They also collected 1,497 cans of food for the Flagler Beach Food Pantry.
The Souper Bowl of Caring, now in its thirtieth year, is a movement of youth across the nation working together to fight hunger and poverty in their communities.
For the past six or so years, the church has supported this popular charity to encourage its youth group to address hunger in the world. Flagler Beach UMC, about 10 minutes away from Palm Coast UMC, runs the pantry.
“Feed Flagler” is a year-round activity that gets food to families in need. There are many in this area.
“Local school counselors in high schools and elementary schools keep up with local families,” Palm Coast UMC Director of Youth and Adult Ministries Lee Thornton said.
“And then we traditionally provide Thanksgiving dinners with a turkey and all the fixings, using money we collect during drives like the Souper Bowl.”
On Feb. 2, like every Sunday morning, the church had three services: a traditional service at 8 and 11 and a contemporary service at 9:30.
That also was the date of the Super Bowl, played about 260 miles to the south in Fort Lauderdale. And like the participants in that game, Palm Coast was playing to win.
The youth got the word out about the food and donation collections, and that gave people the time to bring in grocery donations and for the youth to take cans over to the pantry.
Participants wore purple T-shirts with the Souper Bowl of Caring logo, collected money in donation jars and pots and pans, and managed to exceed their expectations.
“The youth (including a couple of college students) were very excited when they tallied up how much they collected from everyone,” she said.
“Last year, our goal was $1,000 and 1,000 cans, and we didn’t quite make it, so it was kind of a bummer. I don’t know why we did so much better this year, but it was quite a blessing.”
--Anne Dukes is a freelance writer in Decatur, Ga.